Author Archives: Ralph Greco

Robert Plant: Carry Fire

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Robert Plant: Carry FireRobert Plant
Carry Fire
(Nonesuch)

Robert Plant: Carry Fire

You might get a hint of good old Led Zep on Robert Plant’s 11th studio album, Carry Fire. Yes, he is employing the Sensational Space Shifters band here (Plant has worked with them for the past few years). Their folk, Celtic, Indian, and West African soundscapes rise to the forefront on this album, but from the opener, “May Queen,” (the title an obvious nod to one of Zep’s more famous songs) one is reminded of the Robert Plant of yore even with his softer vocal delivery.

Plant takes on lots of weighty issues ...

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Leon Russell: On a Distant Shore

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Leon Russell: On a Distant ShoreLeon Russell
On a Distant Shore
(Palmetto)

Leon Russell: On a Distant Shore

One man boasting a 50-year career in writing, playing, arranging, and singing that would be impressive if you spread that output across three musicians, Leon Russell was a true American musical icon. After his death last year (at the age of 74) we have Russell’s posthumous album, On a Distant Shore. It features Russell originals and some re-workings of his classics. The scratchy-voiced piano player dips back into his love for the Great American Songbook with lush strings, horns, and full swampy band reads across these perfect dozen tunes.

The album ranges ...

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The Peanut Gallery: Tales From The Basement

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

The Peanut Gallery: Tales From The BasementThe Peanut Gallery
Tales From The Basement

The Peanut Gallery: Tales From The Basement

New Jersey hip-hop duo The Peanut Gallery has dropped a new album, Tales From The Basement. It is quite a unique read on what one usually finds in this genre, complete with some great grooves, and quite a few hard-hitting, expletive-rich raps.

“Deep Thoughts” hits us early on with its trilling arpeggio keys, and slipping synth strings. Here we get the full declaration of what Orlando and his partner, Flee Jones are about (these two men being the brains behind The Gallery).

“Molly Crazy (ft Party of 5IVE)” features “Halloween”-movie trilling, scary ...

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John Carpenter: Anthology (Movie Themes 1974-1998)

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

John Carpenter: Anthology (Movie Themes 1974-1998)John Carpenter
Anthology (Movie Themes 1974-1998)
(Sacred Bones Records)

John Carpenter: Anthology (Movie Themes 1974-1998)

You might just be a fan of John Carpenter’s movies (Halloween, Escape From New York, Starman, and Big Trouble In Little China to name a few). But do you know that the director writes and performs the music for his films as well? This anthology delivers 13 pieces of music from 13 different Carpenter films, both composed and played by Carpenter himself.

It opens with the heavy guitar-riff-led “In The Mouth of Madness” (one of the few here led by electric guitar). Then we roll through the early work ...

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Patrick Grant: A Sequence of Waves (twelve stories and a dream)

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Patrick Grant: A Sequence of Waves (twelve stories and a dream)Patrick Grant
A Sequence of Waves (Twelve Stories and a Dream)
(Peppergreen Media)

Patrick Grant: A Sequence of Waves (twelve stories and a dream)

Musician/composer Patrick Grant certainly presents a rich tapestry with his new album, A Sequence of Waves (Twelve Stories and a Dream).

A slicing viola, mallet percussion, and Dan Cooper’s 7-sting electric bass move us through the arpeggio layer of opener, “Lucid Intervals,” then we slip into jumpy metallic sweeps, and the driving patterns of Grant’s lead guitar on “Driving Patterns.” The big stomps behind the kinetic movements, and wailing guitar moments, remind me of early U.K.

There’s a triplet of tunes midway here that seem to set ...

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The Night Herons: Relevant Noise

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

The Night Herons: Relevant NoiseThe Night Herons
Relevant Noise

The Night Herons: Relevant Noise

The Night Herons—Dana Berry, Mike Assenzio, and  Larry Huene—present their new 15-song album,  Relevant Noise. Opening with the flangy, semi-punk sardonic read of “Compromise,” (the lyrics on this one and throughout are great) intoFighters & Lovers,” with its  power chord groove (the bass cooks on this one) again reveals the neat vocal sounds of Dana Berry.

“Wildfires,” slows things down a bit with great bass lines and some spot-on harmonies and tom-tom work. The low moan bass sounds, atmospheric guitar, and breathy female backing vocals of “Let Me In,” provides another respite ...

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Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton @ SOPAC, 10/14/2017

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton @ SOPAC, 10/14/2017Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton, hit New Jersey’s SOPAC with a vengence on October 14th. Per usual (at least the two other times I have seen them) Fischer and Grand Baton like to start things slow, warm up with a little ethereal read, as they did this night with Eric Bibb’s “Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag You Spirit Down.” But very soon bassist Aidan Carroll was rolling us into “Heart And Soul,” which easily led to “Fever,” where drummer Thierry Arpino came off his set to play cajon. Then things got real good, Fischer and Baton hit  Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” ...

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Tangerine Dream: Quantum Gate

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Tangerine Dream: Quantum GateTangerine Dream
Quantum Gate
(KScope Import)

Tangerine Dream: Quantum Gate

The release of Tangerine Dream’s new studio album Quantum Gate coincides with the band’s 50th anniversary. Though the TD’s de-facto leader Edgar Froese died in 2015, he requested that his wife (also the band’s manager) Bianca Froese-Acquaye follow with what he was planning, a new phase of this classic electronica band and brand, their “Quantum Years” music. The remaining members of the band—Thorsten Quaeschning, Ulrich Schnauss, and Hoshiko Yamane—have remained true to Froese’s vision and their band’s usual sound on this nine song opus.

Opening with a metallic tickle under synth sweeps, “Sensing Elements,” ...

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Kid Rock: Sweet Southern Sugar

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Kid Rock: Sweet Southern Sugar

Kid Rock
Sweet Southern Sugar
(BMG Rights Management)

Kid Rock: Sweet Southern Sugar

Sweet Southern Sugar is Kid Rock’s first album made in Nashville, and his first with new label BMG/Broken Bow Records, but it’s that Kid Rock mélange of styles we are used to.

“Greatest Show on Earth,” opens, we get some moans and synths then the snapping drums and main riff gets up and running, very much like what we have heard from Kid before. There’s ballsy bio boasting, singable anthem choruses, and a party sounding band behind him. “Tennessee Mountain Top,” is a heavy, growly bass, mid-tempo rocker, with Rock expounding on ...

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Coral the Merknight vs SEARANTULA: It Weaves a Web of Metal

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Coral the Merknight vs SEARANTULA: It Weaves a Web of MetalCoral the Merknight vs SEARANTULA
It Weaves a Web of Metal
(Sea Spider Studios)

Coral the Merknight vs SEARANTULA: It Weaves a Web of Metal

The heavy metal guitar and drum plodding of “Disclaimer,” opens It Weaves a Web of Metal. Here, we get a warning about what is to follow, that the listener’s health (mental and otherwise) is at serious risk if one listens further to these 13 fantastically silly metal parody tunes.

Just a title like “Videogames Greater Than Girlfriends” should clue you into what fun you’re going to find here, but Travis Orbin (of Darkest Hour) and Adōn Fanion (of Ghost Ship Octavius) can really play, and ...

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David Gilmour: Live at Pompeii

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

David Gilmour: Live at Pompeii
David Gilmour
Live at Pompeii
(Columbia)

David Gilmour: Live at Pompeii

Live at Pompeii is a new live album (there’s accompanying DVD too) from former Pink Floydian David Gilmour. Gilmour brought his 2015-16 tour to this historic Italian venue where Pink Floyd actually played 45 years ago for their Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (though for that documentary their wasn’t an audience in attendance save for the band’s film crew and roadies).

Opening with the sweet guitar bends of  “5 A.M,” into the acoustic jangle of the Parisian-tinged (complete with João Mello’s saxophone leading) “Faces Of Stone,” Gilmour starts off with stuff from his most ...

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Martin Barre @ Debonair Music Hall in Teaneck, New Jersey, 10/6/2017

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Martin Barre @ Debonair Music Hall in Teaneck, New Jersey, 10/6/2017

Photo credit: Martin Webb

Although Ian Anderson was arguably the ‘star’ of Jethro Tull during the 40+ years his guitarist Martin Barre was in the band, Martin Barre is one of the great electric guitarists and deserves his own starring place in rock music. And at 70, the man is rocking harder then ever, as was apparent when I caught Martin and his band down at the Debonair Music Hall in Teaneck, New Jersey, Friday night, Oct 6th.

Sure, we got lots of Tull tunes here, “Minstrel in the Gallery,” into “Steel Monkey” (openers), “Sealion” and a “Hunting Girl” ...

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Dolly Parton: I Believe in You

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Dolly Parton: I Believe in YouDolly Parton
I Believe in You
(Sony Music Nashville)

Dolly Parton: I Believe in You

A train whistle, into a jaunty accordion begins “I Believe in You,” the title track, and opener to Dolly Parton’s new album. This is the country icon’s first ever music release exclusively for children, with all the proceeds from the album benefiting Dolly’s “Parton’s Imagination Library.”

The country star with the big assets (her voice and talent, what did you think I meant!?) is being slightly obvious here with the lyrics, maybe insipidly so. But Dolly has so much personality. The musicians here are top notch and the backing vocalists, ...

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Gary Numan: Savage (Songs from a Broken World)

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Gary Numan: Savage (Songs from a Broken World)Gary Numan
Savage (Songs From a Broken World)
(BMG Rights Management UK Ltd)

Gary Numan: Savage (Songs from a Broken World)

Gary Numan’s 21st studio album, Savage (Songs from a Broken World) is a concept album. Here, Numan presents a desert landscape resulting from global warming, and a blending of Western and Eastern cultures in a post-apocalyptic world. This is one of those albums where you wait to hear every bleep and steam-issuing slip. You may think you have tread this kind of sonicscape with the likes of Trent Reznor, but really Numan is the influence on guys of Reznor’s generation and his ilk (which Reznor fully acknowledges) and ...

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Kris Heaton Band: World Gone Mad

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Kris Heaton Band: World Gone MadKris Heaton Band
World Gone Mad
(Kris Heaton Band)

Kris Heaton Band: World Gone Mad

Kris Heaton Band’s new dozen song album World Gone Mad, opens with the mid-tempo rocker, “Who Let the Bullets Fly.” With a tight snare and power chords pushing, we get a tune with a sing-able hum and introspective lyrics of real substance. The roiling title track follows with a strong key line covering some of the same lyrical ground. There is an expert layering of the instrumentals in both songs that plays well throughout the entire album.

The jangle of “When the Sun Goes Down” informs a solid pop love ...

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The Sidney Green Street Band: Half Live

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

The Sidney Green Street Band: Half LiveThe Sidney Green Street Band
Half Live
(The Sidney Green Street Band)

The Sidney Green Street Band: Half Live

With twangy solid beats, well-placed harmonies, and stellar songwriting The Sidney Green Street Band hit hard with singable tunes on their new album, Half Live. This is a four-piece band made up of talented, seasoned players: songwriter/lead singer/guitarist Lance Doss, singer/guitarist Justin Jordan, bassist Paul Page, and (rock legend drummer Steve Holly. What the foursome present here is an album of tunes recorded in the studio, half live at The Great Notch Inn (a classic historic-tavern in Northern New Jersey).

Half Live opens with a tribute, “Muscle ...

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Neil Young: Hitchhiker

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Neil Young: HitchhikerNeil Young
Hitchhiker
(Reprise)

Neil Young: Hitchhiker

Neil Young recorded Hitchhiker with engineer David Briggs back in 1976. Since, most of these tunes have been re-recorded to find homes on Young releases, Rust Never Sleep. Hawks & Doves, Comes A Time, American Stars ‘n Bars and Le Noise. But here we get the tunes just Young’s high warble vocal and percussive acoustic guitar playing.

Opening with paegn to the American Indian, “Pocahontas,” Young sends out his sympathy imagining what it would be like to get close to the great Indian lady and “see how she felt.” The famous “Powderfinger” ...

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Neil Young: Hitchhiker

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Neil Young: HitchhikerNeil Young
Hitchhiker
(Reprise)

Neil Young: Hitchhiker

Neil Young recorded Hitchhiker with engineer David Briggs back in 1976. Since, most of these tunes have been re-recorded to find homes on Young releases, Rust Never Sleep. Hawks & Doves, Comes A Time, American Stars ‘n Bars and Le Noise. But here we get the tunes just Young’s high warble vocal and percussive acoustic guitar playing.

Opening with paegn to the American Indian, “Pocahontas,” Young sends out his sympathy imagining what it would be like to get close to the great Indian lady and “see how she felt.” The famous “Powderfinger” ...

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The Yawpers: Boy in a Well

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

The Yawpers: Boy in a WellThe Yawpers
Boy in a Well
(Bloodshot Records)

The Yawpers: Boy in a Well

The Yawpers new album, Boy in a Well is a wonderful conceptual ‘mess.’ On their 3rd album, the Denver trio (consisting of drummer Noah Shomberg, guitarist Jesse Parmet, and guitarist/singer/songwriter Nate Cook) attempt to tell the story of a mother abandoning her son in a well during World War I in France.

Discordant piano strikes, marching snares, wailing guitars, and Cook’s warbling high vocals bring the first tune, “Armistice Day” into scary relief. It flows right into the rockabilly rave shouter, “A Decision is Made.”

“Room with a View” is a ...

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Carly Harpur Hollander: Turn Down Your Mind, Open Your Eyes

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Carly Harpur Hollander: Turn Down Your Mind, Open Your EyesCarly Harpur Hollander
Turn Down Your Mind, Open Your Eyes
(Carly Harpur Hollander)

Carly Harpur Hollander: Turn Down Your Mind, Open Your Eyes

Los Angeles pop/electropop artist Carly Harpur Hollander’s new EP, Turn Down Your Mind, Open Your Eyes is a tightly woven concoction. Hollander claims her music is meant to “reflect a philosophy of resilience and unbridled positivity” and here with these tunes she just about does exude this ethos.

“Little Less Shy” opens, built around a shunky drum loop with some well-placed and well-played electric rhythms and a big poppy chorus. “Satellite,” with its quieter ‘plinky’ key sounds, follows, providing more welcome space where it is just Hollander’s ...

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Danii Roundtree: Memoirs

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Danii Roundtree: MemoirsDanii Roundtree
Memoirs
(CarMichael Music Group)

Danii Roundtree: Memoirs

Snapping beat, big horns bleating out the melody as Danii Roundtree trills her voice around them, the New Orleans-like opener “My Man” opens Memoirs. With The Retro Rebels Danii really hits it out of the park here with her soul/jazz/funk mix of high horn push, great keys, upright bass, and warbly vocals.

The slip in and out of the organ on “Pillow Talk,” and how it plumps along on “Magic” reveals some very sly playing and production (on “Magic” there’s some distorted additions to Danii’s voice that are very effective as well). “Blue ...

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Shrek Is Love: Shrek Is Love Volume 1 – This Is My Swamp

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Shrek Is Love: Shrek Is Love Volume 1 – This Is My SwampShrek is Love
Shrek is Love, Vol 1: This is My Swamp

Shrek Is Love: Shrek Is Love Volume 1 – This Is My Swamp

The love of Shrek (yes, that animated big guy) brings vocalist Michael Mayo, bassist Nick Campbell, keyboardist Jacob Mann and drummer Christian Euman together on Shrek Is Love’s 3-song EP, Shrek Is Love, Volume 1, This Is My Swamp.

“Lord Farquaad” smacks us right into the great bass playing and drumming of this four piece along with some “plinky” keys and Mayo’s Steve Wonder-isms. This muscular track ends quite some time later in great jamming. I love how things don’t just end here, the band tacks it down ...

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Giant Flying Turtles: Waltz To The World

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Giant Flying Turtles: Waltz To The WorldGiant Flying Turtles
Waltz to the World
(Menagerie)

Giant Flying Turtles: Waltz To The World

High poppy “who who who’s,” heavy guitar riffing, a hard hitting snare, and then floating bass on top with chorus harmonies and a plinky piano, this wonderfully eclectic mix begins the Giant Flying Turtles new album, Waltz To The World.

These Brooklyn indie music makers mine jazz, prog rock, folk and bluegrass, and they seem to be, dare I say, experts in all these genres.

Calvin Bennett’s bass popping under Johnny Young’s piano plunks on the jazzy “Stay Out Late” swings into a controlled chorus. Then we are into the kinetic ...

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Greg Kihn Band: Rekihndled

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Greg Kihn Band: RekihndledGreg Kihn Band
Rekihndled
(Riot Records)

Greg Kihn Band: Rekihndled

Greg Kihn pretty much rocked radio and MTV back in the day with “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em Like That Anymore)” and his smash single (and one of the first ‘concept’ videos on MTV), “Jeopardy.”  The Greg Kihn Band’s Rekihndled is their first album of all new material in 21 years.

“The Life I Got,” with its catchy riff, heavy bass, and Kihn’s sandpapery vocals open, then we’re rolling into something sweeter on “Anthem,” a song about measuring the passage of time and what one does with it. “Tell Me Something Good” ...

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Free Willy: Remember the Alamo

Source: Short and Sweet NYC » Music

Free Willy: Remember the Alamo

Free Willy
Remember the Alamo
(Buddha Belly Records)

Free Willy: Remember the Alamo

Kevin Carter’s fiddle and mandolin lead a quick county instrumental backing the solid harmony vocals of “Amazing Gracie,” the opener here. Giving a nod to the classic “Amazing Grace” with a little torn-heart love ditty mixed in, this is a great fun way to begin what ends up being a wonderful bluegrass, and slightly alternative country release from Free Willy.

What sounds like a “plicking” quick banjo runs under “God Has A Name,” a tune about the wonders of colors in our world. Once again Carter slices under W.B. Jones’ lead vocals ...

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